… ‘ad infernum aste slumberum victoriat’… yeez can’t beat a good hot water bottle…

…during conversation last night at dinner with some good friends here in the Middle East, where the current daytime temperature approaches 46 degrees Celsius — or 115 degrees Fahrenheit in old money — the topic sum’how arose of winter-time heating in Scotland… one lady in the party hails from that same good country as myself… we seemed to share similar experiences growing up, in council houses and slum apartments which boasted neither heaters nor air conditioning units… these were represented simply byΒ ‘windows’, (and not of the Β laptop variety)… my comedic God, Master Billy Connolly has often referred to his own infancy and youth in Glasgow’s Partick area, similar to my Docklands Govan upbringing, where coats substituted as extra blankets when the temperature in our bedroom dropped from ‘merely freezing’ to ‘arctic survival test’ levels… the Govan and Partick Scots, however, were not without deliverance… rubber hot-water bottles saved the day (or more correctly, saved the night)……when I was old enuff to be trusted to fill these before bedtime with boiling water, the trick was to avoid finger-scalding from the splash-back as the water gurgled into the thing… then a towel or dishcloth applied tightly to the corkscrewed plug to ensure no leakage in the bed… really posh versions resembled ceramic pigs, wrapped in wee woollen cardigans to prevent toes and soles from heat blisters…

…heaven forfend if yeez ever had to share the bed with any of yer siblings… the squabbles to monopolise the water bottle resulted in more smacks across the bum from exhausted parents trying to sleep in the next bed (or, again, if yeez were really posh, trying to sleep in the next bedroom)… the eventual purchase of electric blankets was the way of slumbertime progress, I s’pose, but NUTHIN could beat the comfort of hugging a good water bottle or a little jersey-encased piggy-bottle… see yeez later, LUV YEEZ!

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26 Comments

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26 responses to “… ‘ad infernum aste slumberum victoriat’… yeez can’t beat a good hot water bottle…

  1. I’ve got one of the rubber versions. It has a fleece cover to make it even nicer to cuddle. My Nan still uses her old “ceramic pig” one.

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  2. Still got mine, just like Victoria’s one (rubber in a fleece). But as I use a Canada Goose feather duvet, mine lays on a shelf under the sink, just in case. πŸ˜‰

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  3. I remember these well Seumas. And the layers and layers of blankets on the bed… The windows were covered with Jack Frost’s patterns which were magical. 🌼

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  4. I have a very cute ladybird hot water bottle that I pinched from the kids. Still going strong!

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  5. What memories! Heartwarming now, but I can imagine how cold it was …needing that hot water bottle. No, I never used one, but if it got too cold at night, I convinced my dog to come under the covers with me. A “one-dog” night worked for me.

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  6. I still use the modern versions for the grandchildren. Still rubber, but this time encased in a thick fleecy casing. And they are allowed ONE EACH. As for me… I bask in the luxury of an electric blanket, which by the way, only goes off during heatwaves. But then, I’m a soft southerner who YEARNS for the kind of temperatures you are currently enjoying.

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  7. My parents had a bed warmer (in copper) with a long handle. Used to put embers in it from the fire place and swish it around in between the covers.
    England doesn’t have the market cornered on cold winters! But electric blankets do help!

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  8. I’d be lost, and much chillier, without my hot water bottles. πŸ˜€

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  9. We had hot water bottles then my mother switched to heating pads. In the U.S. I never saw the ceramic bottles. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

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  10. Nooooooo!!!! The number of times the freaking things burst and I woke up in a sopping, cold, wet bed – might have something to do with the fact my mother was too parsimonious to buy new ones when the rubber was crumbling off them. And the number of times I burnt my fingers on that boiling water! I preferred to coerce both dig and cat to sleep on top of me.

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  11. Reblogged this on Writer's Treasure Chest and commented:
    A flashback into childhood to many of us! Who doesn’t remember the good old water-bottle? Even though I have to say, when I was a kid they were a bit further developed than the ones shown here in Master Seumas’ article. Ours already came wrapped into towel-like fabric or I remember our mother knitting a ‘coat’ for another one to make sure our feet didn’t melt away during the night.

    Thanks for an amazing window into our past, Seumas!

    Like

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